Keating Co-op gets $1.4 million grocery upgrade

Renovations started at gas bar, continue with Central Saanich mall façade.

How do you like them apples? Peninsula Co-Op Food Operations Manager Rob Woodburn stands among the new shelves and space in the Keating X Road grocery store

There’s no added square footage in the Peninsula Co-op’s Keating X Road grocery store — they’re just using the space better.

As soon as you walk into the store, you get the impression there’s a lot more space. That’s the whole idea behind a $1.4 million store renovation, says Peninsula Co-op Food Operations Manager Rob Woodburn.

“It gives you that ‘well, what wall did you kick out’ feel,” he says.

Simple design changes, like moving the grocery aisles a few feet back from the checkout area and eliminating the false ceiling tiles to expose beams and ducts, gives the space a more open feel, he explains.

At the entry to the store, displays have been arranged and counters moved to increase customers’ sight lines through the store. The same space configuration occurs in the rear corners  as well, helping move shopping cart traffic more easily.

The renovation included purchasing new freezer and cooler cabinets. Those, Woodburn says, have doors that retain the cold and ease the Co-op’s energy bills.

The store also added a second sandwich counter in the deli section. This, says Woodburn, was done after customers requested it. He adds the store sees a large lunch crowd from the industrial area nearby. A second sandwich area means shorter lineups.

Woodburn adds the store is also creating an outdoor picnic area to accommodate more of the lunch rush. This is part of the third phase of store upgrades at the Keating Co-op. The company is currently changing the façade of the store — and will be doing so throughout the entire mall.

Woodburn said Peninsula Co-op is a minority owner of the mall and when they decided to stay at their Keating location, rather than build a new store elsewhere, the Co-op felt improvements were needed. Those started with an upgrade to the gas bar last fall.

“We opened here in 1977,” Woodburn says. “Over the years, it has gone through various renos and changes.”

The exterior, he says, will get a west coast look, with rock and wood. The new interior includes new flooring and wood accents to link to the Co-op’s long history on the Saanich Peninsula.

“It’s a fresh look,” he says.